What defines a "neighborhood" restaurant in Denver these days?

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Chefs toss around a lot of confusing terms: sous-vide, brown braise, macerate, sweat (when it comes to onions, at least), etc. But when it comes to describing restaurants, here's a word we all understand: neighborhood. Or do we?

Neighborhood restaurants used to be places that attracted us as much for their proximity (close to home) as their price (affordable). No one would think of going to a neighborhood joint to celebrate a birthday or an anniversary -- those were spent at fancy places outside the 'hood -- but they would go there week in, week out, for reliably good food, a familiar menu and a server who just might recognize a face.

See also: - The family operation at Tables is both comforting and surprising - Chef and Tell with Lance Barto - Win a New Year's Eve dinner for two at Central Bistro & Bar

According to restaurant consultant John Imbergamo, now all that has changed. "More fine dining restaurants have moved into neighborhood locations," he says. As a result, "you don't have to wait until Friday" to eat at one.

Fruition and Table 6 are examples of restaurants that, in other locations, would never have been tagged with the word "neighborhood." Tables is another.

Guess which category -- neighborhood or destination -- Central Bistro & Bar (Lance Barto's place that opened last summer) falls into? And while you're at it, tell us if you think "neighborhood" and "destination" still mean anything in regard to restaurants, or if those words, like "record player," "boombox" and "typewriter," have fallen by the wayside as we've evolved.

And watch for my review of Central Bistro & Bar here tomorrow.

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